In a video first published by Current Revolt, Republican Speaker of the Texas House Dade Phelan (Beaumont) defended the practice of awarding committee chairmanships to Democrats.
As the delegates to the Republican Party of Texas met last week in Houston to debate the party platform and formulate new priorities for the 88th Legislative Session in January, one of the possible priorities for the party is to ban the practice of a Republican-majority House appointing Democrats to chair important committees.
Although the final eight priorities have not yet been announced by the party, banning Democrat committee chairs has been a hot topic throughout the Republican primary and following runoff elections.
Now, the leading Republican in the Texas House is on record defending his continued support of the practice.
“Why now?” Phelan asks the crowd, pointing out that awarding chairs to the minority party has been a tradition in the chamber.
He asked the crowd to name one Republican priority killed by a Democrat committee chair in the Texas House last year.
The Democrat-chaired Public Education Committee did in fact pass a bill relating to acceptable curriculum in schools, but the bill never mentions the phrase “critical race theory” and fails to remove the racist curricula from the classrooms.
Nevertheless, Republican legislators have been touting this bill as a CRT ban, all while CRT remains in the classrooms.
Phelan’s argument mirrored one given by State Rep. Briscoe Cain (R–Deer Park) last year, when the Texas House voted on a proposal by State Rep. Bryan Slaton (R–Royse City) to end the practice of awarding chairmanships to the minority party.
Cain spoke against the proposal, claiming he didn’t want Austin to operate like Washington, D.C., and that he would prefer some Democrats in the chamber over other Republicans.
The upcoming RPT priorities selected by delegates from across the state are supposed to guide lawmakers in crafting legislation to meet the needs and desires of Republican voters.
Notably, Texas GOP Chairman Matt Rinaldi said the RPT will be going on offense.
“Going on offense means when we put our time and treasure into electing Republicans, we expect Republicans to lead our state, not the party that wants to destroy everything we hold dear. This means that Republicans need to end the practice of appointing Democrats to chairmanships.”
A conflict between the party and lawmakers seems imminent if lawmakers choose to ignore the priorities of the grassroots conservatives.